Nov 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

What we're driving: 2021 Kia K5

Photo of a blue 2021 Kia K5 on the road

Photo: Kia

Mid-sized sedans tend to be overshadowed by trucks and SUVs these days, but the new 2021 Kia K5 demands to be noticed.

The big picture: The K5 replaces the long-running Kia Optima, a decent, value-oriented sedan. But the K5 seriously ramps up the appeal with head-turning design, new engine and transmission options, and available all-wheel drive.

Details: With a 180-hp, 1.6-liter turbo engine and eight-speed transmission, the K5 is not quite as sporty as it looks.

  • But I haven't driven the new GT version, which features a 290-horsepower 2.5-liter engine, so my opinion could change.
  • Still, it's a competent, comfortable ride.

What's inside: The K5 has two available touchscreens: a standard eight-inch unit and an optional 10.3-inch screen.

  • The connected infotainment system uses real-time traffic data to keep drivers on the optimal route, including weather information for more than 25,000 cities.
  • And it uses AI to recognize natural language commands for things like text messages, news and weather or to adjust the climate control or heated seats and steering wheel.

Safety stuff: All K5 models have a driver attention warning system along with lane-keeping assist and forward collision avoidance technology.

  • Higher-priced versions add features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control, among others.

The bottom line: Starting at $23,490, Kia's mid-sized K5 is a great-looking car, and still a great value.

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